According to reports in Germany, Schalke have offered Joel Matip a much improved deal in an attempt to prevent the versatile defensive specialist from leaving on a free at the end of the season. Matip has previously resisted Schalke’s efforts to get him to extend his stay, but a reported €4M per season, four-season contract is now on the table.
If true, it’s an offer that signals just how serious Schalke are about keeping him. For Matip’s part, though, the suggestion is still that the 24-year-old—who is comfortable both at centre half and as a defensive midfielder—still favours a move to England in general and Liverpool in particular, who have been linked heavily with him in the Germany press in recent weeks.
"Our competition is tough," Germany’s Bild reported Schalke managing director Horst Heldt as saying this week when news of the improved contract on offer—along with rumours it still wouldn’t be enough to get Matip to stick around at Schalke for any longer—leaked. "We have agreed with his consultants that in January we will make a decision."
Even if he doesn’t sign the new deal, it will drive up Matip’s asking price, and €4M per season makes for an exceptionally rich offering from a Bundesliga club. For Europe’s richest league, though, it shouldn’t be hard to beat, working out to just over €75k per week—or £55k using current exchange rates. It does, though, set a high floor for any club looking to negotiate.
If Liverpool are as set on signing Matip as the rumours claim, it’s likely to take an offer of around £75k per week to capture the Cameroon international. And there could be some good news in Heldt’s most recent statement, which appear a softening of Schalke’s previous insistence that they would hold on to Matip until the end of the season no matter what.
Now at least there appears an acceptance that if Matip cannot be convinced to stay, their best course might be to get what they can for him in January, which opens the door to a transfer for a nominal fee and could allow Liverpool to reinforce two positions of need with one signing in the coming weeks.